It Takes Two: How One Couple Got in Shape Before the Big Day

TV series Altar’d follows the journeys of brides and grooms-to-be who have vowed to get in healthy shape for the big day. Here, one couple’s story.

bride and groom
The happy couple on their wedding day

The Bride: Gina Shansey

Her Goal: “My surface-level goal was to look good in my wedding photos, but the long-term goal was to feel better, healthier and stronger.”

The Plan: Each Altar'd participant was separated from his or her partner for 90 days — with the big reveal taking place on the wedding day. During this time, Gina and her fiancé each worked under the supervision of noted trainers and lifestyle coaches Erin Stutland and Chris Marhefka, who also devised customized meal-delivery plans for their clients.

The Workout: “Typically, I would head to the gym after work for at least an hour. Three days a week I’d do weights and cardio, the other four days it’d be all cardio — including Zumba, which I loved! Getting to the gym every day was definitely a challenge in the beginning because I was so out of shape. But over time, things got easier — though I still hate burpees. Working out became a natural mood lifter, and I enjoyed feeling stronger after each workout.”

Foodwise: “I followed a 1,200 calories per day plan. Most meals consisted of a protein, vegetables and smaller portions of grains and fruits. While I did lose weight, I tried switching to a lower-carb plan to see if I could lose even more — and it worked! On the first plan I averaged two pounds lost per week, but once I went to the low-carb diet, I lost about four pounds per week. It helped to know I had a goal and that I was getting a much more balanced diet than before.”

Results: “I lost 32 pounds and a lot of inches — which to me is most important because my clothes are fitting so much better now. And of course I’ve gained some muscle as well.”

The Reveal: Dylan says: “The first time I saw Gina after our 90-day separation was at our wedding. Gina looked so bright and beautiful and confident. It got very emotional very quickly, and I was definitely holding back tears.

The couple before:

bride and groom before

The Groom: Dylan Booth

His Goal: “My chief physical goals were a slimmer face and improved posture. I also wanted to feel healthier in general and was hoping to be able to dance longer at the reception without getting winded.”

The Workout: “I wasn’t working out at all before. Now, I went to the gym every day. Three days a week I’d do a 30-minute weight circuit followed by 30 minutes of cardio. On other days I would do at least 30 minutes on the elliptical plus another 20 minutes of floor exercises Chris had taught me. CrossFit was hard for me. I just didn’t connect with it. But I came to like the feeling of being active. I could feel myself getting stronger and I really liked that.”

Foodwise: “My diet did a full 180. At 1,600 calories a day, that meant no more fast food and cutting out every type of drink except water. A typical breakfast was an egg white and low-fat cheese sandwich. My favorite dinner was turkey tamale pie. I actually became fond of veggies I hadn’t liked before: Now I really enjoy cauliflower ‘mashed potatoes.’ ”

Results: “My goal was to lose 50 pounds, though I didn’t believe I’d even lose 40. But I ended up losing 42 pounds and dropping 10 pant sizes. It was a bit of a shock when my clothes started getting so loose. I had to cut new notches in my belts. My face has slimmed down, I feel lighter and more physically able, and I now carry myself in a more confident way.”

The Reveal: Gina says: “As I walked down the aisle and could finally see Dylan, I almost couldn’t believe it was him. He looked so trim and so handsome, it still makes me well up with tears. I had missed him so much and then there he was in front of me again.”

The Trainers Weigh In

Erin says: “Gina’s biggest challenge in the beginning was her doubt that she could accomplish the goals she set for herself, so we worked hard on getting her to see and believe that she deserved to feel and look her best.”

Chris says: “Despite some challenges with the exercise portion, Dylan’s greatest strength was his ability to stick to the nutrition plan almost 100%. He did not allow cravings, being busy or social pressure to derail him.”

Photos courtesy of Z Living